Coughing at night is common but may indicate a serious problem. It could be due to pneumonia. If you do not have usually symptoms of pneumonia, you should work with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause. Depending on the cause, they will suggest a treatment. Still, you can use a few tips and learn how to stop coughing at night for minor and chronic causes. Keep reading to discover more about it.
As mentioned, there can be different reasons of why you are coughing at night. If it’s postnasal drip, you may find some relief by using a decongestant. If you also cough up mucus, it could be due to an infection like whooping cough, bronchitis, or even pneumonia. The following tips will help you understand how to stop coughing at night. You should contact your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within a week of taking homecare measures.
1. Elevate Your Head
Gravity is always going to make your cough worse. All the mucus and postnasal drainage you swallow during the day backs up when you lie down at night. This irritates your throat and makes you cough. You can defy gravity by elevating your head. Simply use a couple of pillows to keep you elevated. You may also consider placing a few wooden blocks under the feet of your bed to raise it up to 4 inches – keep these blocks under the head only to create a more natural incline. This also works well for people with acid reflux, if that is the reason behind your cough.
2. Turn Away from Ceiling Fans
If you have a heater, ceiling fan, or air conditioner in your room, make sure that it does not blow air directly towards your face while you are on your bed. Many people have noticed their symptoms become worse when air blows directly on them.
3. Install a Humidifier
A humidifier will add moisture to the air and make breathing easier. Just be sure to clean the humidifier often to ensure mold does not grow. Do not leave water in it for an extended time.
4. Make Use of Steam
Dry airways will aggravate your symptoms and make cough worse. Taking a hot shower or inhaling steam may help keep your airways moist. Sitting in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes will also help. Avoid inhaling steam though if you have asthma.
5. Take OTC Medicines
How to stop coughing at night? Take medicines that work for you.You can find different OTC cough medicines for relief. An expectorant can loosen mucus to prevent irritation, whereas a cough suppressant prevents the urge to cough. Be sure to pick the right medicine for your condition or ask your doctor for help.
Sucking on a lozenge may also help calm down a cough. Make sure that it has a numbing agent such as benzocaine to create positive effects.
6. Keep Things Close to Your Bed
To relieve a coughing attach, you may need to drink a glass of water. It is a good idea to keep all these things close to your bed. Keep cough drops or medicine nearby. It is best to take some medicine or drops as soon as a coughing fit starts. The more time you take to resolve the issue, the higher the chances of getting your airways irritated. This will aggravate the problem and hurt your sleep as well.
7. Hot Teas with Honey or Chamomile
Drinking a cup of hot tea before you go to bed may help moist the upper respiratory tract, soothe a sore throat, and calm a cough. Do not drink teas with caffeine in them. Instead, opt for teas with honey and chamomile.
8. Keep Bedding Clean
This is especially important if your cough is due to allergies. Dust mites can trigger your allergies. These tiny creatures lurk in bedding and eat dead flakes of skin. Be sure to wash your bedding regularly in hot water to get rid of dust mites.
9. Pay Attention to Your Breathing Technique
When trying to sleep, be sure to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. You should make conscious efforts to quit breathing through your mouth. Breathing through your nose will put less pressure on your throat and this usually means less coughing at night.
10. Licorice Root Tea
To learn how to stop coughing at night, you need to learn how to make the right use of licorice root. It works because it acts as an expectorant and demulcent. Therefore, it helps loosen mucus, ease congestion, and soothe your inflamed airways at the same time. It contains glycyrrhizin, which helps reduces inflammation in your body and prevents coughing. Simply boil water in a cup and add the licorice root in it. Steep it for 15 minutes and drink it twice a day.
11. Stay Hydrated
You are going to feel dehydrated when you have an upper respiratory tract infection such as a flu or cold. These infections cause postnasal drip that irritates your throat and causes a cough. Drink plenty of liquids to keep your mucus membranes moist and to keep your body well hydrated.
Treat the Underlying Condition
In addition to taking simple steps, you also need to identify the underlying condition to learn how to stop coughing at night. Here is more about it:
- If you lie down on your bed and have a coughing fit, this could be due to heartburn that makes stomach acid to move up your esophagus. To resolve the issue, you may consider trying an OTC heartburn treatment first. See your doctor if you notice no improvement.
- If it is due to allergies, you need to keep your bedding clean and even take OTC allergy medicines to prevent allergy attacks.
- If you have asthma that becomes worse as night, it could be due to some triggers around. Do you have dust in the bedding? Look for those triggers to stop coughing at night.
What’s more, you may be coughing due to the side effect of taking ACE inhibitors or other blood pressure drugs. Talk to your doctor about it and they may change the medicine or adjust your dose to prevent coughing. At the same time, you should quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke as well to stop coughing at night.
When to See a Doctor
Call your doctor when coughing up greenish-yellow mucus which is thick, wheezing, having shortness of breath or a fever higher than 100 F (38 C).